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Gar-Field closed out its non-conference schedule for the regular season at home on Saturday night against Frederick Douglass, falling 52 to 42.
Maryland’s Douglass takes down Gar-Field girls by 10
© Gainesville TimesJanuary has not been kind to the Gar-Field varsity girls basketball team, offering just two wins to six losses.
Frankly, a 3-5 December wasn't much better. Nor was an 0-2 November.
At 5-13 overall, the Indians enter the last two weeks of the regular season in pretty rough shape but with a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Gar-Field closed out its non-conference schedule for the regular season at home on Saturday night against Frederick Douglass, a team from Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The Eagles prevailed 52 to 42, jumping out to an 18-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and never relinquishing its advantage.
Sophomore guard Alexis Stubblefield played as the Indians' leading scorer on the season and only member of the team averaging double digits this season.
She put up 10 points but ran into foul trouble early, forcing head coach Amy Smith to limit Stubblefield's playing time.
Even with her star player out of the game, Smith said she opted to run the same offense she has all season.
"We have to have someone else step up," said the coach.
That actually played into Douglass head coach Derwin Faulkner's game plan.
Faulkner, a rookie high school coach with years spent coaching on the AAU circuit, explained that he wanted his defense to neutralize Stubblefield in order to force her teammates to make shots instead.
"If we could slow her down, we could be there" competitively, said the coach.
In fact, six other Gar-Field members hit shots on the night, including two 3-pointers from senior guard Alex White from the top right side of the key.
Her first shot banked in off the glass seconds into the start of the fourth quarter, closing a 43 to 26 gap to 14 points.
White's second came from roughly the same spot, this time with a swish ending, bringing the Indians within a 45 to 36 margin.
"I kind of took my time and listed to coach when she told us to start shooting the ball," said White.
Overall, Douglass only outscored Gar-Field 41 to 38 from the field, with senior Rachael Smith putting up a game-high 12 points for the Eagles.
Her teammates India Richey and Anyae Stanfield each added nine points; Takela Barnes, Whitney Hall and Brandi Harrison scored six points each; and Treasure Doberson rounded out the visiting team's scoring with four points.
For Gar-Field, White, Alyssa England (6 points) and Jennifer Brooks (5 points) all hit shots from behind the arc. Senior forward Raven Jones (7 points) and junior forward Tevannah Charlemagne (2 points) made up the rest of the Indians' offense.
The difference maker though came from the Eagles burying 11 out of 20 foul shots compared to just four buckets from the free throw line by Gar-Field.
"We just need to be careful (with) out hands, keep our hands up," said White about preventing fouls in the future.
Benefiting Gar-Field this winter is that of their five wins, three came against Cardinal District opponents.
All four of the Woodbridge school's final games prior to the post-season come against district opponents.
That means the Indians could salvage one of the top four seeds in the seven-team conference during the district tournament if they win three of those matches and receive a little help.
Victory against second-place Forest Park on Jan. 30 is unlikely at best; the Bruins came out on top the last time the two teams faced off by a 67 to 24 margin on Dec. 18.
The other three games are more promising though.
Gar-Field squares off against Osbourn Park (6-9 overall, 4-3 district) at home on Feb. 2, less than a month after the Indians came within three points of the Yellow Jackets in Manassas on Jan. 4.
Then, on Feb. 5, the Indians head to Freedom (Woodbridge) to play a team that entered this week winless in the district at 0-7 and 4-12 overall. The Indians won their last clash against the Eagles 47 to 40 on Jan. 8.
Hylton (10-6 overall, 4-3 district) promises to be a more challenging opponent on Feb. 8 during the regular season finale, given that the Bulldogs' only conference losses came against Forest Park and top-seeded powerhouse Potomac.
Yet Gar-Field kept the scoring margin to single digits on Jan. 11 when Hylton won 49 to 40.
According to Smith, the Indians' coach, her players need to take their time shooting during the final four games, make their foul shots and be ready to grab rebounds when the opportunities strike.
"We've got to box out, box out, box out," said Smith.